Judging from the Back Pain facts and figures, we can assume that with all these cases of back pain that somehow we just haven’t figured out how to fix bad backs.
Even if we identify the painful segment, it does not give us any information on the specific tissue/structure responsible for the disorder. Each spinal segment contains different tissues such as discs, ligaments, joints and muscles, all in a very small area all possible of producing referred and radiated pain.
Acute and Chronic Back Pain
Most back pain or back injuries fall into one of two categories, either Acute or Chronic. Acute back pain is the direct result of an accident, sports injury or work related strain.
The good news with acute pain is that the problem is obvious, and the symptoms easy to classify, thus making it relatively easy to treat with soft tissue intervention and corrective exercise prescription.
Acute low-back pain (lasting less than 3 weeks) usually resolves itself without any intervention although soft tissue and exercise prescription can speed recovery.
- 75% of individuals recover from acute low back pain within 3 weeks
- 90% of individuals recover from low back pain within 2 months (14)
The bad news is that sometimes acute back pain can be a precursor to the more serious chronic back pain. Chronic back pain generally applies to pain that continues to occur for more than 3-6 months, which can be on and off.
The majority of back pain cases fall into this category. Chronic back pain is by nature the more difficult to treat. Why? Well from reading the above you now know there are many root causes.
Back Pain Treatment Options
Because of the above we have a lot of different opinions on back pain. For example, a chiropractor may say its an alignment problem or leg length discrepancy. A physical therapist may say it a weak pelvic girdle or it needs adjusted. A soft tissue therapist may say it is a myofascial problem. A surgeon will want to remove or fuse, but the truth is that we just don’t know for sure.
Let’s take a brief look at what the spine is meant to do; carry loads (support our body), allow movement of the different body parts and provide protection to the spinal cord.
Back pain researcher Panjabi regards three different subsystems that must act together for spinal stability. These subsystems are the passive, active and neural.
- the passive subsystem – vertebrae, intervertebral discs, spinal ligaments, joint capsules, and the passive properties of the muscles.
- the active subsystem – active properties of muscles and tendons.
- the neural subsystem – propioceptors and other neural control components.
What Panjabi is referring to is that any dysfunction in one subsystem will lead to compensation of another subsystem, and will result in injury or pain.
Back Pain Rehabilitation
One of the most commonly overlooked factors in the back pain rehabilitation process is the correction of posture, muscle imbalances and the development of strength.
If your long term goal is not only to overcome your back pain, but also includes STAYING out of pain, then you need to improve your postural imbalances and build more strength than is necessary for your normal daily activities.
Most back problems result from a combination of poor posture, either when seated at a desk at work for eight hours per day or during working conditions, and in particular, lifting. Furthermore, inappropriate self-taught exercises may actually make matters worse.
This can create chronic pain in the lower back (lumbar spine) or neck (cervical spine).
People in certain occupations or with particular recreational habits may be more prone to such problems. This is not to rule out that a number of people are born with a genetic weakness in the spine, which may pre-dispose them to problems, such as back pain, later in life.
These problems are exactly the ones which therapy can address.
The trained corrective exercise specialist, soft tissue practitioner and physical therapist can, through a range of postural assessments, static and dynamic exercises, educate the patient to develop a better posture or lifting pattern and by improving muscle tone, as well as usage, while increasing overall fitness.
Back Pain Assessment
So, is the root cause of low-back pain weak musculature, poor posture and incorrect work habits? Advice can be given by corrective exercise specialists on postural alignment, muscular length tension relationships and work or sport related ergonomics.
Where can you find such knowledgeable coaches? Right here in the North East! Internationally renowned American clinician Paul Chek has been spreading his expertise to the C.H.E.K (Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiologists) practitioners of the world, creating knowledgeable and competent coaches.
C.H.E.K practitioners are trained in the analysis of biomechanics, strength and conditioning from a very clinical point of view. C.H.E.K practitioners take a holistic approach, treating the body as a whole, using in-depth assessments, to help aid them to be able to deliver a fast recovery for their clients.
Book an appointment today with one of our qualified and experienced practitioners for an individual assessment to see how we can help you.